Lately I've found myself wondering what the 2006 or 2007 version of myself would have thought if I told him he'd be married in 5 years. He probably would have laughed in my face and told me I was crazy...He isn't going to get married for a while, he'd say. He wants to travel and be able to just worry about himself for a while before he settles down, he'd say. Besides, 30 is the new 20, he'd arrogantly point out. I'd just smile, nod, and say well, we'll see, I guess. Then he'd chuckle, unconvinced, shrug his shoulders and sarcastically agree with me.
I never planned for this. For virtually my entire adult life I knew I would probably take a different path than the rest of my family. I was going to be a late bloomer, in a sense. I was going to wait to marry, not really because I was afraid or avoiding it, but because I just wanted to put off that responsibility for a while. I wanted to be able to live my life at a moment's notice. I wanted to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and get all of that out of my system before jobs, kids, and raising a family took over.
Then I met Adrienne, and all that stuff I had planned for seemed increasingly foolish and trivial. The only plan I had after that was to be with her.
It just doesn't make sense that my wedding is a mere week away. I've been looking forward to it since the day I proposed to Adrienne, but in a "It's going to be so great when the day comes" kind of way. It's strange how things we anticipate like that always seem to feel so far away, and even if we count down the days, are still able to sneak up on us like an old friend surprisingly grabbing our arm on a crowded street.
I've gone over every possible scenario in my mind, played it out from start to finish over and over, although I know any preconceptions I have about it won't do it justice. I can't really imagine what it's going to feel like standing at the alter, watching the love of my life walk towards me in her beautiful gown, the music playing, and a few hundred sets of eyes fixed directly on her. I almost feel jealous, like all those eyes don't deserve it...That moment should be just for me...For us. But, I also know how ridiculous that is, because she will be sharing that moment, that day, with her mother and sisters. When I remember that, the silly jealousy fades away and turns to excitement because I'm glad her family and mine will all be there sharing in our joy with us. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
You see, I knew exactly what I was signing up for when I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Adrienne Ross Turner.
The Turner Girls are a unique breed, and it takes very little time to realize that. They all exude a quiet confidence that, when pushed to do so, boils over the surface like a pot on the stove that's been filled just a bit too much...Slowly, but suddenly.
They all have a contagious and addicting sense of humor, and an uncanny ability to laugh at their own faults. Poking fun of one another is both acceptable and expected, but God have mercy on the poor soul that crosses that line from the outside.
They all look at life and the daily challenges that accompany it with a sense of joy and exuberance that almost seems fake, but is laced with more sincerity than most people can apply to anything.
They all tell stories about the husband, father, teacher, and friend that left such an indelible mark on so many lives with such vividness and love that the listener might as well be standing in the room at the moment the recollection happened. I love watching their faces brighten when they speak of him.
They all love the little piece of land off Highway 90 in Waterview, that no matter where they go, will always be home. Not that I blame them...Pulling up the driveway makes me feel like I've been sucked into a Ken Holland painting. And I always feel like I'm home when I go there.
I've witnessed a stronger bond between the Turner Girls and some horses and dogs on that farm than most people ever find with another person.
None of them are perfect, and each would be the first to tell you that. Sure, they're confident in themselves, but they fail to cross the fine line between confidence and arrogance. Despite their noticeable confidence, Turner women are built humble.
And stubborn. That innate stubbornness leads to disagreements and the occasional heated argument, just like in any family. I would prefer to stay out of them, but if push comes to shove, Adrienne will always be right (sorry, Jackie, Liza, and Leigh). But no matter the topic of disagreement, or the severity, there is always forgiveness on both sides.
They each have their own preferences, interests, and styles, but influences from all the others can be easily seen. I've never seen a group of people so different and so similar at the same time.
And above all else...The bond that has been forged in them by blood and experience is absolutely unbreakable. There will never be anything more important to them than family, and that has been abundantly clear since the very beginning.
So what does it mean to be marrying a Turner Girl? Well...
It means I have a new-found responsibility, not only to Adrienne and our future family, but to her family too. It means I have a new family that has welcomed me with open arms, and, despite all my faults and short-comings, has somehow come to grips with the fact Adrienne chose me.
It means I know my kids will grow up with an amazing support system from both sides. They'll see great examples of the love, devotion, determination, and hard work from my family AND Adrienne's. It means the stereotype of "dreaded in-laws" doesn't exist for me.
It means if I ever screw up and hurt Adrienne in any way, I not only have to answer to her and her family, but also about 6,000 Cumberland County residents.
It means the woman I get to spend the rest of my life with is a strong, confident, smart, and loving woman built upon a foundation as strong as the one I grew up with. Adrienne and I talked about how similar our families were very early on, and is one of the things I like the most about mine and Adrienne's relationship.
It means I get to spend the rest of my life with the woman of my dreams. It means I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the rest of the Turner Girls for helping mold Adrienne into the unbelievably incredible woman she is today, and to Liza for introducing us in the first place. Without the Turner Girls, I'd have nothing.
I guess above all else, it means I got really damn lucky.